Jochen Hecht of the Sabres is experiencing scary concussion symptoms that have alarmed his team. (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
When we spoke with Ken Dryden for our post earlier this week on concussions, he proposed an annual conference on head injuries that would involve every aspect of the hockey community. The first item on his ideal agenda would be to hear from those who have suffered concussions and give these players a chance to “tell their stories, very simply. This is what it’s like, this is the impact, these are the consequences, these are the stakes.” That would certainly open the proceedings with an emotional wallop.
That was on our mind when we came across an item by John Vogl in The Buffalo News about center Jochen Hecht of the Sabres being concussed in Saturday’s game against the Blues, but the symptoms not emerging until Tuesday at practice.
“He’s not good,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after Tuesday’s game in New Jersey. “Wasn’t feeling bad [Monday]. He took a hit from [T.J.] Oshie in St. Louis, kind of an elbow — and came off [Tuesday] and he was a mess. He couldn’t focus. Emotionally, he was really unstable. He’s in a tough place right now. We’re worried. … To come off and be the way he was tells you that there’s something wrong.”
That’s scary stuff. This is Hecht’s second concussion of the season and third in less than a year. As we know, each one makes the victim more vulnerable in the future and potentially makes the reaction more severe. We wish him well. As Dryden said, “This is an ongoing thing. It’s not something that’s random bad luck. This is tomorrow unless you start finding a way to make a better tomorrow.”